Center for Practice
Engage in experiential learning through courses and activities that simulate the practice of law, place you in real legal practice settings, and connect you with legal professionals, at Cincinnati Law.
At Cincinnati Law’s Center for Practice, established in 2001, you can take advantage of both curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to hone your professional skills and build your network. Our offerings include training in:
- client interviewing and counseling
- decision analysis
- trial advocacy and presentation skills
- mediation advocacy
We are also proud to provide multiple pathways that connect the academy—and today’s students— with legal practitioners.
Because our courses, workshops and other programs draw on insights from a range of disciplines and expert practitioners, we can help you refine professional legal skills both through class work and real-world experiences.
Our interdisciplinary approach highlights our deep and rich collaborations with experts in:
- decision analysis
- dispute resolution
- best practices
We make the most of Cincinnati’s urban environment and the University’s vast institutional research expertise so that you can interact and work with representatives from leading law firms, businesses and civic organizations.
At Cincinnati Law, we believe that a well-rounded legal education will serve all legal practitioners, whether or not they become litigators.
While the public’s general understanding of the legal system typically revolves around filing a lawsuit, making arguments and legal motions, exchanging information through discovery, trials and appeals, the truth is that litigation is one of a range of ways disputes can be resolved.
That is why we know that no matter your career goals, you and your clients will benefit from your knowledge about the ins and outs of litigation, which Cincinnati Law offers through courses as well as impactful experiential opportunities.
We also know that most litigated cases never go to trial. Most are resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which includes direct negotiation, mediation and arbitration, typically done with legal assistance and advice.
Here’s a general primer on ADR:
Mediation: A neutral mediator assists the parties' efforts to reach a settlement, but does not have binding decision-making power.
Arbitration: A relatively informal adjudicative process in which the arbitrator's decision is usually binding.
A wide range of contracts can include mandatory mediation or arbitration provisions, and many court-related programs offer one or more forms of ADR.
If you’re interested in pursuing litigation or ADR, set up a time to meet with faculty and Center for Professional Development staff to plan your classes and experiential strategy.
The University of Cincinnati College of Law offers a general trial practice course every semester, taught by faculty with extensive experience in the courtroom and the classroom. Interdisciplinary insight from communication science, theater, and psychology inform the way we teach trial strategy – how to build a “theory of the case” and shape persuasive narratives through opening and closings statements and witness examination. In addition to thorough grounding in all aspects of trial practice, students receive intensive individual coaching throughout the course.
The fall semester Trial Practice Competition course is designed for trial practice team students, selected through the tryouts the previous spring. This course includes an Ohio fall competition exercise with an eye toward readiness for national competitions in future semesters.
The spring semester course similarly draws upon proven strategies for persuasive trial presentation and provides individual instruction and feedback but does not require participation in an inter-school competition. In some years, the UC College of Law’s trial practice course focuses on criminal defense and prosecution contexts.
UC Law also offers related and advanced courses that teach students how to prepare witnesses, work with experts, and conduct pre-trial discovery.
Cincinnati Law offers you a wide range of options to help you build skills in litigation, mediation, negotiation and dispute resolution. Our simulated and real-world experiences help prepare you to practice as litigators and ADR practitioners.
- American Bar Association-sponsored competitions in Negotiation and other transactional or subject-matter specific negotiation competitions.
- Cincinnati Law’s Trial Practice Team national and regional competitions
- Cincinnati Law Clinics and Centers
- Judicial externships with the U.S. District Court, the Ohio Court of Common Pleas, or other courts with criminal jurisdiction
- Legal externships with a prosecutor or defense organization or the Sixth Circuit Mediation Office.
In your third year, if you have completed at least 60 credit hours toward graduation, you can obtain an intern’s license, which allows you to practice in court under the supervision of a prosecutor or defense lawyer. This expands your pre-graduation practice options to include:
- The Indigent Defense Clinic, where you can represent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Hamilton County
- Part-time law firm work (available in your second and third years many of the 800 Greater Cincinnati law firms)
- Volunteer opportunities with organizations, including the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (if you perform 15 or more hours of volunteer legal work, we will note it on your official transcript)